Due to the overwhelming demand for our services, we only accept family law clients in orange county court.
JOS FAMILY LAW is the best law firm in Orange County if you are seeking a resolution of your Child Custody matter. Binoye Jos experienced his own lengthy, costly Child Custody battle. After firing his attorneys for not obtaining a reasonable result – the “best” in Orange County, and at a cost of more than $400,000 – he took it upon himself to fight his own battle in court. The outcome? He WON his case. So he became an attorney, so that he can fight for YOU.
The best possible situation for a family that is splitting apart is to mediate the matter, instead of fighting it out in court. Mediation is the most cost-effective, efficient manner to settle such matters. But mediation is only effective when parents are amenable to working things out in a reasonable manner.
Sometimes, however, if an opposing party acts unreasonably, we at JOS FAMILY LAW utilize the law and the courts to the fullest extent in order to protect our client and their child’s best interests. Family Law courts in California – and public policy, for that matter – favor “frequent and continuing” contact with both parents. Therefore, parents should always ask themselves whether they are acting in the best interests of their child, before deciding that the child should live with only one parent. Sometimes, overprotective parents genuinely believe that they are the only parent who can properly care for their child. But the real question is: Is this belief true? A parent who truly loves their child will love them enough to share them with the other parent.
Of course, there are circumstances where the other parent is violent, has committed domestic violence, or is an abuser of alcohol or another substance. In these cases, of course, the child must be protected from the offending parent. Child custody matters are never cut and dried and, therefore, shared custody is not always the right answer. But so long as there is no physical or psychological abuse by the other parent, child custody determinations should never be used to thwart the other parent’s rights.
If you are truly looking for an attorney who will mediate, whenever possible, and will use the courts to make determinations when mediation falls short, feel free to contact JOS FAMILY LAW. We will help you make the transition into your new life as seamless as possible. You may reach us at (714) 733-7066 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to discussing your Child Custody matter with you, and helping find the solution that best fits your particular situation.
Based on Code of Civil Procedure Section 592, there is no inherent right to a jury trial in marital cases. Judges have the discretion to assign some factual issues to be decided by a jury. However, they do not often do so. As a result, marital trials are less formal in nature. Despite the lack of formality, they must still follow the rules of evidence and procedure.
If you are representing yourself at Trial, you will need to set aside some time to prepare. By now, you should have an accurate picture of what assets are community property and what assets are separate property.
Keep in mind that the valuation of the community assets (based on Family Code Section 2552) as close to possible to the date of Trial is what is important to the Court.
Also, that based on Family Code Section 2550, the Court will seek to divide the community assets as equally as possible. Therefore, for Trial purposes, propose a distribution of the assets that is as close as possible to equal.
You should also figure out, ahead of Trial, if you are entitled to make a claim of reimbursement. For example, if you moved out of the marital residence after separation but continued to pay the mortgage, then you will be entitled to reimbursement for such payments.
In addition, you should be prepared to request that the community debts be assigned equally between the parties.
As close as possible to Trial, if you are other party are requesting Spousal Support or Child Support, it is a good idea to file an updated income and expense declaration with current paycheck stubs. It is also a good idea to go to the nearest law library and ask a reference librarian to access child support calculator software. You enter your income and that of the other income. Review your paycheck stubs and that of the other party and enter any applicable deductions. The software will generate a report. You can submit that report as an exhibit.
Before the Trial date, both parties are required to file exhibit lists, witness lists and a trial brief. Each County has its own set of local rules that specify the deadline for serving and filing the exhibit list, witness list and trial brief. In addition, a Judge may have their own department policies on Trial protocol. For example, certain departments require the Petitioner to use numbers for their exhibits while Respondent uses the alphabet.
On the date of trial, make sure to bring three sets of the exhibits: one for the opposing party and one to be submitted to the Court. The third is for your own reference. It is helpful to compile your exhibits into a Trial notebook. Your notebook should include a section for all filed pleadings. Tabulate your notebook and prepare a Table of Contents to ease in reference. You should also practice in front of friends or family what you will say. This will help to ease your nerves ahead of time. In preparing your own testimony and that of your witnesses, write down the facts that you need to establish to support your position. For example, if the characterization of a house is at issue, you will want to present your title documents and testify that what you intend to submit as an exhibit is a true and correct copy of the most recent title document. If your title document is a certified copy, you can cite the evidence code that permits submission of such a documents as self-authenticating as an official record.
As you present each exhibit, you will inform the Court, for example, house title, which is marked as “Exhibit A.” After authenticating the document, you will state, “I submit Exhibit A into evidence.” The Judge will ask the other party if he or she has any objections. If they do, you can argue as to why the objection does not apply or you can argue that there is an exception to the objection. Some Judges prefer that all exhibits be submitted into evidence at the end of your case-in-chief.
Call your witnesses the day before to remind them of the date and time of your Trial. Make sure they have secured transportation. Let your witnesses know where they can access affordable parking, on what floor the department is located, etc.
Unless the Judge states otherwise, the process begins with the Petitioner. If that, is you, inform the Court as to how you intend to proceed. You can choose to make an opening statement for that purpose. It helps the Judge, as the trier of fact to follow the structure of your case-in-chief if you inform him as to what he can expect.
For example, you can inform the Court that you plan to present your evidence on the community assets and debts, then your separate property. Thereafter, you can discuss child custody and visitation. Assuming that you are testifying on your behalf, you can then end with your proposed figures on Spousal and Child Support. This is known as your case-in-chief. When you are finished, let the Court know “Petitioner rests.” The respondent can then cross-examine you. The Judge may also have some questions for you. You then have the opportunity for what is known as “redirect.” This means you can explain any unfavorable information that the Respondent elicited from you on cross-examination.
Then the Respondent presents their position on the issues. When they rest, you can cross-examine them. Keep in mind that your questions must be within the scope of the information they testified on. When the Respondent and his or her witnesses testify take notes. You will use these notes to create the questions for cross-examination. A good rule to keep in mind that is you should never ask a question that you do not know the answer to. If the Respondent or his or her witnesses did not respond as you expected, you can ask the question in another way. If the response is damaging to your position, you can either impeach that testimony or wait for redirect to repair your position. As a self-represented party, you are also acting as your own attorney. Therefore, you can object to the responses made by Respondent or his or her witnesses either on direct or cross-examination.
Some common objections are relevance, non-responsive, narrative. An objection based on relevance means that what is stated does not relate to any disputed issue in the case. Non-responsive means that the testimony did not respond to the question asked. Narrative means that the response is a story rather than a simple answer. Some testimony is objectionable for more than one reason. If this happens, state all objections. If the Judge agrees with your objection, he will state “sustained.” You can proceed with the rest of your questions, or you can re-phrase the question. If the Judge disagrees with your objection, he or she will state “overruled,” which means the witness can proceed with the rest of their testimony.
If you have any documents that contradict their testimony, you can present them to the Court. This is known as impeachment evidence. After you have concluded your case, you can choose to make a closing statement. In the opening statement, you informed the Court as to what you would present, e.g., “the evidence will show that…” In the closing statement, you will summarize what you presented. For example, “as shown by the testimony of witness A, the house is my own separate property which I ask the Court to confirm.”
At the end of the Trial, the Judge will ask if both sides rest. Based on the Rules of Court Rule 3.1590(a), the Court must announce a tentative decision which the Judge can do verbally or by a written statement. This decision is not binding. It is simply what the Judge intends to rule at that time. The actual judgment may differ.
The Judgment is the official ruling of the Court. If the Court asks one of the parties to prepare the Judgment, he or she must provide the other side with a copy of the proposed Judgment who then has 10 days (after service) to review and object to it. To prevent disputes, it is a good idea to mail it certified. After 10 days (after service have elapsed, it can be submitted to the Court without the approval of the other side. The Judge will sign it and will return a conformed copy to both sides by mail. Typically, the date of dissolution of the marriage is the same date as the Trial.